2008 athletics department award winners announced
July 24, 2008
By Danny Mattie
FORT COLLINS, Colo. -- The Colorado State department of athletics announced Thursday the winners of its annual awards, recognizing the top male and female student-athletes for their contributions to the success of Rams athletics.
Senior track and field athletes Jason Schutz, Janay DeLoach and April Thomas - who also ran cross country at CSU - were honored along with senior swimmer Tara Staley and junior Jeff Horinek of the CSU football team.
Nye Trophy • Jason Schutz • Men's Track & Field
Schutz, from Chromo, Colo., turned in another outstanding performance for the Rams track and field program in 2008, earning All-America honors for the second consecutive year in the discus, finishing sixth in the nation at the NCAA Championships with a throw of 186-3. He won the discus event at the 2008 Midwest Regional and competed in two events (hammer throw) at the NCAA Championships. Schutz also earned three all-MWC honors in 2008 including in the indoor weight throw and the outdoor hammer throw and discus. In addition, Shutz earned academic all-MWC honors in 2008.
Virginia K. Frank Award • Janay DeLoach • Women's Track & Field
DeLoach, from Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., became just the third female track and field athlete in school history to earn multiple All-America honors in the same season when she accomplished the feat in 2008 with top honors in both the long jump and the 100 meters, and also earned all-MWC recognition in both events. DeLoach was selected as an MWC Scholar Athlete and earned academic all-MWC honors. She becomes just the fourth repeat winner in the award's 33-year history, joining Loree Smith (track and field, 2004-05), Becky Hammon (basketball, 1998-99), and Amy Brookover (swimming, 1989-90) as the only two-time recipients of the award.
Merrill-Gheen Award • Jeff Horinek • Football
Horinek anchored the Rams defense as a junior in 2007. A native of Atwood, Kan., Horinek earned honorable mention all-conference honors, leading the team with 94 tackles (46 solo) while contributing 4½ tackles for loss, ½ sack and three passes broken up. He tied for ninth in the MWC with a team-leading 7.8 tackles per game and tied for second in the conference with four double-digit tackle games. With a 3.92 grade-point average as a health and exercise science major, he earned academic all-district recognition from CoSIDA/ESPN The Magazine.
Mencimer Memorial Award • April Thomas • Women's Cross Country/Track & Field
Thomas' excellence both on the track and in the classroom were acknowledged time and time again, as the senior from Aurora, Colo., earned the Mountain West Conference's highest honor when she was selected as the Female Athlete of the Year, becoming just the second athlete in CSU history (Liz Toman, track and field, 2000-01) to earn that designation. Thomas won the 2007 MWC cross country individual championship and led the Rams women's team to the first MWC cross country title in school history. She also contributed to the first women's outdoor track and field conference championship. Graduating summa cum laude in May with a 4.0 grade-point average, Thomas earned her degree in biological sciences with a minor in business administration. Thomas also collected first-team all-conference, all-region, academic all-conference and MWC Scholar Athlete awards throughout the 2007-08 season. In addition to her academic and athletic pursuits, Thomas was involved in numerous outreach activities, most notably participating in a mentoring program for children.
Thurman "Fum" McGraw Award • Tara Staley • Swimming & Diving
Staley, from Las Vegas, Nev., made a name for herself as a student-athlete who was as revered for her energy, leadership, sportsmanship and initiative, as for her performance in the pool. A top performer for the Rams swimming and diving program and a 2008 academic all-MWC performer, Staley's biggest contributions to CSU athletics may have come away from Moby Pool, as a key volunteer in many of CSU's community outreach and volunteer events - including the annual blood drive and Ram Jam events - and as a member of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC), where she was active for many years and served as president for the 2007-08 school year.